As the main one, it's a source of materials, and for us it's always the lowest number that wins. On a job, we could be pricing upwards of 10, 15, or 20 different contractors. Each contractor could have five different companies like us, so we could be bidding against 80, 90, or 100 different millwork companies per se, and it's really the lowest number that wins, regardless of what happens.
What we're seeing happen more and more is that the lower-number millwork shop doesn't always do the best job. What they hope for is that they get halfway through the job and can't complete the contract, and then they bring in another shop in to finish up the contract. Really, the contractor is ahead by paying for only half the job because the original contractor failed.
This is about better regulation on that item, for one. The second and actually bigger item would be payment terms: getting paid on time. Our biggest struggle right now is getting paid by these contractors.
We have an outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials, wages, and everything else, and we're just hoping that at the end of it we get paid. For us to get paid in 90, 120, 150, or 180 days is wishful thinking. We're forced to carry it. Our industry isn't set up so that we get deposits or money ahead of time. We're expected to front all the materials and all the labour and then hope that in six months' time we get paid for it.